I haven’t always been consistent with exercise. What’s your No. 1 excuse for not exercising? Mine is usually lack of time. I know I have a lot on my plate and we’re all busy juggling multiple priorities and rushing around from one thing to another. However, I know that no matter how busy I am, someone even busier than me is managing to prioritise exercise.
I have set myself a goal to exercise a minimum three times per week and I now do whatever it takes to achieve this goal. I can achieve this goal by going for a walk, by doing a group fitness class, by going to the gym or simply by doing three 7 minute workouts (I use the app 7 Minute Workout Training Challenge), which I may do in one block or in 3 bursts during the course of the day.
I have discovered over the years that I get bored if I do the same form of exercise all the time. Joining a gym, or at least signing up for a 12-month membership is just setting myself up for failure. Some people need that commitment to be motivated, I need variety and we are all different. Whilst I have a three times a week fitness goal, I will set myself other challenges to keep me focused and enthusiastic about exercising. Recently, with my own coach, I set myself a goal to run 5km in 30 minutes by my next birthday in July 2017. So that is my current fitness goal I am working towards. A 5km run may sound like an easy challenge for some, but for me it is quite scary as I have never run that far and I have some knee issues. To ensure I succeed, I have some solutions for my knee, like strapping it or getting acupuncture to help me through. This goal is on my bucket list and I am committed to achieving it.
Fitting in exercise into a busy schedule can be difficult if you are not used to doing it. My top 5 tips that have helped me are:
Set yourself a Goal – A fitness goal will help you stay focused. Make sure your goal is a SMART one, it should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realisticand Time Based. For example: I will train three times per week and will run 5km in 30 minutes by July 2017.
Make it a Habit – Start making some form of exercise, whether it’s walking the dog, doing yoga or riding your bike to work a habit, just like showering, brushing your teeth or having a coffee. It’s easy to fit in exercise for a few days here or there, but by incorporating it into your routine like you would your hygiene, you take the process of exercise away from willpower and into habit.
Lay out your Exercise Clothes – To follow through on a morning exercise plan, it helps to lay out your exercise clothes the night before. That way you don’t waste any time getting dressed and you are ready for your workout. Even if your plan is to exercise later in the day, the visual cues are a wake-up call to your brain and will be a constant reminder of your plan to exercise.
Get an Exercise Buddy or Personal Trainer – To help you stay motivated choose an exercise buddy to hold you (and each other) accountable. Or if you just are not sure where to start, a personal trainer can help. Exercising with a friend can give your fitness efforts a good jump start and may also make it easier to stay on track. A personal trainer can also teach you some effective workout strategies to keep you interested and seeing results.
Track your progress – Tracking your fitness progress is a great way to stay motivated. It can also make it easier to see when you reach a fitness goal. Some tracking methods include:
Wearing a fitness tracker (Fitbit, Garmin or TomTom are just some brands)
Weight and/or body measurements
The time it takes to walk or run a particular distance
How much free weights you can lift
Number of sit-ups or push-ups you can do in a particular time
Your ability to hold a difficult pose, such as a plank, for a certain amount of time
Exercise gives us energy and keeps us healthy to keep going in our busy lives. I try not to think of exercise as another thing I have to squeeze into my already busy schedule. Instead, I think of it as maintenance for my health and a way to de-stress and do something for me.
Own your Goal!
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